Smeatharpe Stadium - Sunday 6th September 2015

A glorious late summer’s afternoon greeted those at Smeatharpe Stadium, with the feature event being the 33 rd running of the Autospeed National Banger World Championship, ably backed up by the BriSCA F2 Stock Cars and Saloon Stock Cars.  Impressively the World Champions from all three formulae were on hand, 1 George MacMillan in the F2 Stock Cars, newly crowned 6 Simon Welton in the Saloon Stock Cars and defending title holder in the National Bangers, 239 Steve Carter.  All three were invited to parade before the start of the meeting and partook in on track interviews, giving those looking in and listening on, an insight into the past, present and future.

National Bangers

With regret, but it was not a surprise, the 32 total entry in the National Bangers fell short of what it could have been and should have been, and what was booked.  It was naturally of great quality though with visiting interest from across the country, including a few track debutants and for the first time in a number of years, an overseas entrant too, with Belgian 890 Leszek “Pavarotti” Malinoswsky putting in a welcome appearance.  His was one of the smart car award winners, whilst others were 133 Terry Hill, 190 Steve Bailey and 204 Charlie King.  Otherwise, there was a lot of used material from “Blockbuster” the previous weekend, which was understandable.  With the entry as it stood, and as was stated two days prior to the event, the decision was made to run the World Championship race as “all in” with the seeded entries drawing their grid positions in the usual way, whilst the remaining drivers lined up in a separate group further back.   It was 714 Paul Smaldon who drew pole position with Old Skool series leader 492 Josh Hutchings alongside.  2 litre World Champion 82 Tom Foster drew three and Buxton Raceway points champion 717 Jack Tuffen four with the third row consisting of 247 Lee Clarke and Carter.   Of the other favourites, Bailey and 331 Jason ‘Boxer Jack’ Jackson drew right towards the back of the seeded entries.

Smaldon’s car expired on him on the very first lap, so literally a “No Show”, Tom Foster did the same and it was Clarke who moved ahead of Hutchings and into the lead at the end of the first lap.  On the back straight 917 Andrew Tew was turned aside, collected and then blitzed by an absolutely huge hit from the Rolls Royce of 239 ‘Nemesis’.  Tew immediately signalled that all was not okay, and the red flags were called.  After attention, the young Welshman was thankfully able to exit his crumpled car himself.  During this stoppage, both Bailey and Jackson retired from the race.  The re-start came on lap five, with Clarke continuing to head the field from Hutchings and Tuffen.  However, what was to become a feature of the race was the protracted feud between 247 ‘Bro’ and the ‘DWO’ team.  Having missed with a dive at Clarke in the pits bend, 341 Andrew Jones spun his Rolls Royce on the home straight and had several attempts at reversing across the track to try to block the orange Mercedes estate of Clarke.  However, 247 briliantly dodged him each time and so the attempts of “Jonesey” became all the more desperate, to the point that he contravened the rules by driving in the wrong direction, to manoeuvre his car to stop Clarke.  Despite being waved away from the infield by officials, Jones ignored them, and he was duly shown a black flag, which he also chose to ignore.  After more near misses, with 247 still holding the lead all this time, when 341 placed his car right across the track, Clarke had little choice but to plough in.  This delayed Clarke and allowed second place Tuffen to close on him.  A lap later, Jones; now reversing in the direction of racing on the home straight, again tried to stop Clarke.  The East Anglian swerved to the infield, narrowly missing the marker tyre in turn one.  Thereafter, Clarke came across a lurking Carter.  Clarke had to attack Carter, but as he tried to spin him, Carter was too close to the safety fence.  The two cars bounced off the plating, leaving Clarke at the mercy of Tuffen, who spun him aside to take the lead.  As soon as Clarke spun into the marker tyres in turn three, 988 Billy Dennison stormed into him, and Clarke then took a pair of bigger hits – firstly from Nemesis and then the already disqualified Jones.  This left Clarke dazed and the red flags were ordered.   With two laps still to run, 717 Tuffen was at the front of the single file order.  The race order re-start had Dennison between second placed Hill and 162 Brett Ellacott.  Tuffen appeared to misjudge the green flag at the re-start where as Ellacott moved straight into second place, and then was able to move past 717 with relative looking ease as last lap board was shown.  Ellacott, with all his experience was more than ready for Tuffen and thus it was Brett’s third Autospeed title, following on from his first back in 1998 and second in 2011.  Hill rounded out the podium positions.  With due respect to Ellacott, the race will not be remembered for his victory, more the tactics of his ‘DWO’ team mates and the heroic nature of Lee Clarke’s efforts to evade, until he was ultimately battered into submission.

The first Allcomers race only really featured the one notable moment, and after 74 Adam Hitchcock ran 384 John Golden around the pits bend plating, Carter waded in with a big hit on the 384 Jag which left ‘Goldie’ shaken and requiring attention.  Thankfully he was able to climb from his car unaided after a short time.  Tuffen, so impressive on the day, went on to win.  The second Allcomers saw Hill take the victory which then moved into the Destruction Derby.  There were four takers and it turned out to be a good one, particularly between Hitchcock, 79 Adam Brocks and Pavarotti.  After several exchanges between Hitchcock and the overseas star, it was the Belgian who outlasted to take a popular win.  This was a good end to the day on what had otherwise raised far more questions than answers in so many ways.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars

Just six days before the BriSCA F2 World Championship at Hednesford, the 37 car entry was beyond expectation, and as stated above including 1 George MacMillan for his last meeting before defending the title, having made the overnight journey from Scotland after racing at Cowdenbeath on the Saturday night.  With new grades in play, a drop from star to blue for 83 Sy Harraway saw him take heat one and then 783 James Rygor took heat two before the consolation featured a great battle between 528 Shane Hector and then Moss brothers of 797 Dan and 979 Paul, and it was the latter that got the better of it to win.  The Steve Rich Trophy Final was headed off by 175 Ashley Pursey who continued to do so, and was still there at the halfway mark until the battling duo of Harraway and 676 Neil Hooper moved past him.  Hooper got ahead of the 83 car, only for Harraway to come back.  However, the race was to turn on its head.  A tangle further back between 575 Tom Clark and Rygor, left the latter stranded across the track and the yellow flags were ordered.  But, as these were shown, Clark’s engine emptied its sump contents on the Honiton bend as a direct consequence of his crash half a lap earlier.  As the yellow flags came out, it was the leaders of Harraway, Hooper and 352 Dave Sansom who were the first to hit the oil and all crashed on it.  Not only did they crash, the damage they sustained was enough to see them out of the race.  It was therefore fourth placed runner 522 Chris Mikulla who assumed the lead for the three lap dash re-start.  He was able to break free and went on to take his third feature race win in a row.  It was a ferocious battle behind, with places swapping and changing and second and third was a near dead heat across the line with 111 Lewis Geach just getting there ahead of 315 Justin Fisher.  The Grand National was a fast and furious race, which went all the way from green to chequered and from the back of the grid to the front, MacMillan took the victory whilst as the day’s best overall white top Pursey was the recipient of the annual St Johns Ambulance Shield, which had bonus prizes of cupcakes, a £25 voucher from HCD, and a new tyre.

Saloon Stock Cars

The Saloon Stock Cars followed a similar pattern to that of the rest of the summer, with an average sized entry putting on a trio of very watchable races with no quarter expected and none given.  Driving the loaned car of European Champion Eddie Darby (absent with his son, Warren, at the British Championship in Scotland), 612 Lee Pink recorded his first Saloon Stock Car win in heat one after gaining the lead early on.  The second heat saw three of the star men, 158 Shane Davies, 199 Phil Powell and 698 Danny Colliver trip over each other on the opening lap and this allowed 6 Simon Welton and 730 Dean Mayes to battle it out.  They reeled in Pink to lead and it came down to a last bend lunge from the World Champion on Mayes, which was successful and the new gold top duly won.  995 Ben Goddard opened out a useful lead in the Final but Colliver was well into his stride this time and picked off those up ahead until it was just Goddard.  He moved into the lead with laps to spare and like Chris Mikulla in the F2’s, took his second Smeatharpe Final win in a row.  Worth noting too, yet again, Colliver had been racing at Cowdenbeath the previous evening.  Goddard held on for second and Pink completed a good day for third.

BriSCA F2 Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 83 542 676 663 575 189 254 315 76 468
Heat 2 783 1 828 111 464 627 352 526 175 689
Consolation 979 528 797 544 920 404 800 87 367 522
Final 522 111 315 189 468 979 464 627 528 689
Grand National 1 83 676 189 315 175 254 828 522 468
Grade Awards W 663 Y 464 B 189
Saloon Stock Cars 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Heat 1 612 698 158 199 730 6 460 475 995 891
Heat 2 6 730 612 475 350 460 698 995 619 199
Final 698 995 612 199 619 6 158 350 730 891
National Bangers 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
World Final 162 717 133 204 45 988 nof
Allcomers 717 452 331 45 988 162 17 204 133 89
Allcomers 133 17 162 717 714 988 74 79 nof
King of Crash/DD 890
Best Presented 890 190 133 204
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